Big Government The sprawling Federal government, bailouts & more! <![CDATA[ This is an excellent piece of writing]]>
A large truck bomb explodes at a Daytona Beach hotel during Spring Break. The casualty list, and the amount of damage, is huge. Tom Darden, a reporter for a regional radio news service, gets into the blast area, when everyone else is being kept out. Over the next few days, he writes a story that starts to put some of the pieces together. It involves a couple of missing illegal aliens, and a black pickup truck with Texas license plates. Darden's boss has no interest in running the story, because he was officially told, by his boss, to back off the story. As punishment, Darden is sent to Iraq.

The patrol that Darden is part of is attacked, and, in the chaos, Darden photographs things that he shouldn't have photographed. He is thrown in prison, but this is not your average prison. For lack of a better term, this is an unofficial, "off-the-books" prison. It's the sort of places where Iraqis with absolutely no connection to the insurgency, are tortured, frequently to death, simply because the civilian contractors can do it. Darden's cell neighbor is a former Army medic whose "crime" was treating one of those tortured Iraqis. After a few days, Darden is released and put on a plane back to America.

Back home, Darden writes about his experiences in Iraq, and posts on several different websites. It attracts the attention of powerful people in Washington, which leads to an assassination attempt. A senior adviser to the President, called the War Hawk, goes live on national TV. Using the Daytona Beach bombing as a justification, he imposes martial law. Rioting is widespread. The country is very divided. Can Tom, along with sympathetic government officials, expose the truth before it is too late?

This is an excellent piece of writing. It works really well as a political thriller, and it's much too plausible. Highly recommended.]]> Wed, 5 Feb 2014 20:32:33 +0000
<![CDATA[ Recommended for everyone]]>
Why are unions supposedly at the root of America's financial problems, despite the huge drop in numbers of unionized workers over the past half century? The American corporate class (the 1 percent) wants nothing to stand in the way of their pursuit of profit. Employee wages are seen as an expense, which must be reduced as much as possible, in order to push up the stock price. A person might think that societies like Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia are the world leaders (for lack of a better term) in using propaganda on their own citizens. By far, the world leader is the United States. People are taught to equate free market capitalism with everything that is good in America. Any opposition to corporate power, like unions, is supposed to equal tyranny, oppression and communism.

Unions came into existence because of a fundamental bit of human nature. If people get together in a group, they can accomplish things that a single person can not accomplish. People have gone on strike for better working conditions since the early days of America. This book looks at some of the famous events in union history. In 1835, children in Patterson, New Jersey's silk mills went on strike for an 11-hour day and a six-day work week. There's Chicago Haymarket Incident (or Riot, or Massacre) in 1886. There's the Great Railroad Strike of 1877, and the Homestead Strike of 1892. In the 20th century, there is 1913's Ludlow Massacre. More recently, the book explores the Conservative Resurgence of the 1980s, and the attacks against unions by people from Ronald Reagan to Scott Walker. Union leaders are only human, so, throughout American history, they can be just as evil and corrupt as the rest of society.

This is a partisan book; it is probably not possible to write a totally non-partisan book about unions. This book is still recommended for everyone. It's recommended for those interested in the less well known parts of American history, it's recommended for union members who are unfamiliar with their history, and it's recommended for part of the explanation as to how America got into its present financial mess.]]> Sun, 17 Nov 2013 14:34:38 +0000
<![CDATA[ Scathing, but much needed]]> As shown in the title, the author, a CIA veteran, doesn't believe that the Agency needs fixing or "tweaking." He strongly believes that it needs to be torn down and totally rebuilt.

During World War II, in the days of the OSS, a person or group was given a mission, which usually involved being dropped behind enemy lines, and was told to make it happen. They treated intelligence work as some sort of holy calling. Today, the CIA is filled with bureaucrats and buck-passers who consider it as merely another federal job. It is thought of as a cardinal sin to make waves, even if it will save American lives. The solution to intelligence failures, like 9/11, seems to be to add layers of bureaucracy and "coordination" instead of reducing it.

The US Army's ROTC program trains and continually evaluates potential officers. If a person doesn't measure up to Army standards, they are asked to leave the program. The CIA has no such training program. A person could be a wonderful case officer, but be totally incompetent in a position of leadership. Despite the CIA's rigid bureaucracy, they still know how to put together a covert operation in days, or even hours, when an intelligence opportunity presents itself. Other agencies, like the military and FBI, need months and months of briefings, re-briefings, evaluations and approval from several different people before there can be a final approval. That is why the author strongly feels that the CIA should be the only foreign intelligence agency, and that other agencies should stop their foreign intelligence operations.

In a US embassy overseas, the ambassador is the boss. No covert operation happens without his (or her) approval. The ambassador works for the State Department, whose top rule seems to be "Don't upset the host country", even if that covert operation will save lives. Occasionally, there will be visits from Washington bureaucrats, who would not know a covert operation if they tripped over it. They usually have this wonderful intelligence idea, which sounds great in a Langley conference room, but on the ground, is an amazingly stupid idea.

Physical training for covert agents used to be very rigorous, because an agent had to be able to deal with almost anything. Over the years, standards have been reduced to almost zero. What was "very rigorous" training is now something like mildly stressful. The CIA is in strong need of people on the ground, so physical standards have been reduced to the point where people from other divisions have been let in to the program. It doesn't matter if they have asthma, diabetes or some other major ailment. If they complete the course (there are no repercussions if they don't), they suddenly think they are qualified to go overseas and work on real covert operations, right next to someone with 20 years experience.

This is a very scathing book, but it is much needed. Regardless of your opinions about recent CIA actions, America needs some sort of foreign intelligence agency. This book is an excellent place to start putting together such an agency the right way.

]]> Sat, 12 Oct 2013 19:52:13 +0000
<![CDATA[ Inconsequential]]>
Bill Murray does a good job underplaying FDR, making him very cheerful and down-to-earth, while also a very bad husband. Laura Linney plays Daisy, the mistress. She's dishwater-dull and completely without appeal, but FDR, apparently, liked her a lot. The royals are portrayed as dimwitted snobs who take great offense at having to attend a picnic and eat hot dogs. Nothing much happens and then it's over.

The tone of the movie is unremittingly low-key and I waited, in vain, for something interesting to happen. Although the King was there to enlist American support for WWII, the focus is on the dreary, mousy, and quite clueless mistress. It's inconsequential and only mildly entertaining.

]]> Sat, 8 Jun 2013 05:47:36 +0000
<![CDATA[ This is well worth the reader's time]]>
In 2012, things are not going well for Kalinda Resbo. She can't get anything through Congress, mostly because Congressional Republicans have decided to say No to anything she advocates. Congressional Democrats are not much better, being too cowardly to stand with her. Her CIA and FBI Directors, along with her Vice President (they were forced on her by the Democratic leadership), are neo-cons who really want to start a war with Iran over their nuclear program. Because Resbo does not agree, they are actively hostile to her, undermining her whenever possible. In the eyes of some, as an unmarried black woman, she is automatically an America-hating lesbian socialist. With election season here, her poll numbers are not good, mostly due to her abrasive campaign manager.

There are some good people in her administration. Among them is J.B. Wellers, her Chief of Staff, who also ran her first presidential campaign. He is one of those who is not afraid to tell the unvarnished truth, even to her, which is why she values his advice so strongly. She asks him to take over her campaign again, and things start to improve. Resbo makes a bold move by announcing that she is running for re-election as an Independent, and with a new running mate. Unconstrained by party requirements, she makes a series of gutsy proposals for her second term. Among the things she advocates are: replacing the federal income tax with a national sales tax; geting rid of the two-party system; term limits for the Congress and President; campaign finance reform, filibuster reform and closing all foreign military bases. her two opponents, Mitt Romney and Leroy Skittles (her current VP) can't keep up with her and have to rely on the usual political nonsense. Resbo is ahead in the polls, but not enough to keep the election out of the House of Representatives. Meantime, a secret plan is brought forward to make sure that Resbo is a one-term President, using a method that was last used successfully in 1963 in Dallas.

This is not a liberal or conservative story, but it is a really good story. Both parties share the blame for America's current condition, and, if both parties can somehow put America ahead of Party, maybe some of it can get fixed. This is well worth the reader's time.  ]]> Sun, 17 Mar 2013 22:20:57 +0000
<![CDATA[ This is well worth the reader's time]]>
In 2012, things are not going well for Kalinda Resbo. She can't get anything through Congress, mostly because Congressional Republicans have decided to say No to anything she advocates. Congressional Democrats are not much better, being too cowardly to stand with her. Her CIA and FBI Directors, along with her Vice President (they were forced on her by the Democratic leadership), are neo-cons who really want to start a war with Iran over their nuclear program. Because Resbo does not agree, they are actively hostile to her, undermining her whenever possible. In the eyes of some, as an unmarried black woman, she is automatically an America-hating lesbian socialist. With election season here, her poll numbers are not good, mostly due to her abrasive campaign manager.

There are some good people in her administration. Among them is J.B. Wellers, her Chief of Staff, who also ran her first presidential campaign. He is one of those who is not afraid to tell the unvarnished truth, even to her, which is why she values his advice so strongly. She asks him to take over her campaign again, and things start to improve. Resbo makes a bold move by announcing that she is running for re-election as an Independent, and with a new running mate. Unconstrained by party requirements, she makes a series of gutsy proposals for her second term. Among the things she advocates are: replacing the federal income tax with a national sales tax; geting rid of the two-party system; term limits for the Congress and President; campaign finance reform, filibuster reform and closing all foreign military bases. her two opponents, Mitt Romney and Leroy Skittles (her current VP) can't keep up with her and have to rely on the usual political nonsense. Resbo is ahead in the polls, but not enough to keep the election out of the House of Representatives. Meantime, a secret plan is brought forward to make sure that Resbo is a one-term President, using a method that was last used successfully in 1963 in Dallas.

This is not a liberal or conservative story, but it is a really good story. Both parties share the blame for America's current condition, and, if both parties can somehow put America ahead of Party, maybe some of it can get fixed. This is well worth the reader's time.  ]]> Sun, 17 Mar 2013 22:19:57 +0000
<![CDATA[ Excellent Description of the World Opportunities That Exist Right Now]]> The World America Made by Robert Kagan is about the constantly

evolving changes in the world order and the projection of power by the

major players, as well as small coalitions of countries which can

act cooperatively to achieve economic or geopolitical ends.


Kagan presents a world which has been at relative peace between the

major superpowers since the conclusion of the Cold War and the

substantial victory with regard to the War on Terror.

The author explains how America is strategically located far away

from the political hot spots across the globe. In addition, America's

strengths are seen in its tremendous resources, borderlines on

the Atlantic/Pacific oceans and success with democratic processes.

Despite some complaining from competing corners of the world,

America is well tolerated.


Kagan makes another important observation which is that territorial

conquest is outdated due to the digital world and advanced

communications. The author uses the phrase "The New

Enlightenment" to describe the direction things are taking.

The author explains that major wars are started when there are

doubts about which powers project more force. In today's

world, there are no major doubts except for countries on

the fringes of the global economic and geopolitical order.


The book explains that the major challenges ahead are to sustain

and build upon the current order in the world. This is no small task

but he believes that America and other coalitions of countries are

up to accomplishing the task.


The World America Made by Robert Kagan is an important book

about America's role in the world, as well as the opportunities of

smaller coalitions of countries to prosper as a result of mutual

economic and political cooperation. The presentation is easy to

read and it is directed to a wide audience in government, industry

and the general public.

Credits: First Published on Blogcritics


]]> Mon, 11 Mar 2013 03:48:51 +0000
<![CDATA[ Essentially the play-by-play of the Left's vicious and relentless attacks on those who dare disagree]]>
Just in case you hadn't noticed, the overwhelming majority of the vitriol on display in the public square originates from those on the Left. Honest, hardworking, law-abiding conservatives like myself have been putting up with it for years and it has only gotten worse since Barack Obama became President. Most of us are bound and determined not to stoop to the same tactics employed by our ideological adversaries. Progressives will deny they engage in such tactics but author Ben Shapiro has done his homework and has assembled a comprehensive anthology of some of the left's "greatest hits" in his compelling new book "Bullies: How The Left's Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences Americans". Shapiro leaves very little doubt how the left has managed to get its way over the past quarter century and makes it abundantly clear that conservatives need to figure out some way to counter these tactics. Given all of the obstacles in our way it is not going to be an easy task.

Pick the cause. Be it climate change, gay marriage, gun control, abortion rights, religious liberty, illegal immigration or Obamacare--if you dare to disagree with the radical positions espoused by those on the Left than you are going to be instantly and brutally attacked by government officials, the mainstream media, Hollywood and the union thugs who stand to gain from these policies. Unlike conservatives, those on the Left including the President of the United States have absolutely no problem playing the race card, the class card and the sexism card to get their way and really don't care who gets hurt in the process. Ben Shapiro shines the spotlight on incident after incident where these tactics are employed and concedes that "the strategy is working and will continue to work as long as American's remain silent." And that is what the left is counting on.

I could enumerate chapter and verse some of the most heinous and downright ridiculous examples cited by Ben Shapiro in "Bullies". For example, in Denair, California a 13 year boy was forced to remove an American flag from the back of his bicycle because according to school officials the flag "raised racial tensions". Absolutely ridiculous! Then there is the left's passionate and irrational hatred of conservative Republican women like Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman and Michelle Malkin who have the audacity to espouse traditional American values. The attacks on these ladies have been vulgar and vicious by such leading liberal luminaries as Keith Olbermann, Bill Maher, David Letterman and Al Sharpton. Or how about what happened when the President of the Chick-Fil-A restaurant chain Dan Cathy dared to support the notion of traditional marriage in a televised interview. The leftist bullies immediately sprung into action. Gay and lesbian activists decided to hold a "Kiss In" at selected Chick-Fil-A outlets while Mayor Rahm Emmanuel of Chicago and Mayor Thomas Menino of Boston sought to ban the chain from their respective cities. This in spite of the fact that there was absolutely no evidence to suggest that Chick-Fil-A discriminates against gays. So much for tolerance! And so far as Obama's Department of Homeland Security is concerned it is conservatives and not terrorists that are the real threat to America. Progressives clearly and consistently seek to stifle any opposition to their agenda and have absolutely no problem destroying lives and ruining careers in the process. It's just what they do. For those of us who read and pay attention to current events little of what Ben Shapiro has presented in "Bullies" comes as a surprise. However, it is shocking when you see all of it assembled in one place and come to realize just how far the progressive tentacles extend in America in 2013.

Ben Shapiro believes that these left-wing bullies are the most despicable people in America. I would concur. These folks have absolutely no interest in due process, the rule of law, civil discourse or for that matter the United States Constitution. These are all viewed as impediments to implementing their radical socialist agenda. Shapiro closes with some words of wisdom and encouragement from his friend and colleague the late Andrew Breitbart. They are words that conservatives need to take to heart. Clearly the time has come to fight back! For those Americans who only casually pay attention to what is going on out there "Bullies: How The Left's Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences Americans" should prove to be a real eye-opener. This is a meticulously researched (40 pages of helpful footnotes) and very well written book. Very highly recommended!]]> Sun, 13 Jan 2013 15:47:13 +0000
<![CDATA[ 'Hyde Park On The Hudson', politics and Bill Murray as FDR (Video)]]> 'Hyde Park On The Hudson' is the story of a love affaire between FDR (Bill Murray) and his distant cousin, Margaret Stuckley (Laura Linney) centered around the weekend in 1939 when King George V1 aka Bertie (Samuel West) and his wife, Queen Elizabeth (Olivia Coleman) came to visit.

George is in the United States to ask Roosevelt for financial help with Britain's impending war with Germany. By the way, this is the same King George that took center stage in 'The King's Speech.  That's right...the King who stuttered.

The film was directed by Roger Michell ('Notting Hill') and written by Richard Nelson.  It's a very interesting study about a man who was laid back, funny, shrewed and a total player.

 This guy loved women and apparently, even though he was confined to a wheel chair from contacting polio as a child, he never let his handicap stop him from getting it on with the ladies, including his long time secretary, Missy (Elizabeth Marvel)

Unfortunately, Eleanor (Olivia Williams) knew all about his affairs, but like all good and loyal 'first ladies' she stayed by her husband's side and made the best of it. Of course, she accomplished incredible things in her own right, but that's another movie.

The film opens with Roosevelt summoning Margaret to his vacation home in Hyde Park on the Hudson..  She's quite surprised by the invite since she hasn't seen the President in years.

The Commander In Chief starts his seduction by showing  Margaret his stamp collection, followed by long drives in the country, and finally, FDR, ever so delicately takes Margaret's hand and places it on his...Well, you can use your imagination to figure out the rest.

The main reason to see this film of course, is Bill Murray's excellent performance as Roosevelt.  Quite a stretch from the guy we first met on Saturday Night Live. 

This is also a film for anyone who loves history, which I do and for that reason, I gave 'Hyde Park On The Hudson' which opens in theatres, Friday December 7th...31/2 bagels out of 5.

Check out our video for John's bagel score and for more of our thoughts.

Please SUBSCRIBE to us on our youtube channel and LIKE us on our FACEBOOK page.  Let us know what you think of this film.
Thanks everyone.]]> Wed, 5 Dec 2012 04:42:47 +0000
<![CDATA[ Voter fraud continues to be a threat to the future of our republic.]]>
As I prepare this review Democrats are gathering in Charlotte, NC for the 2012 Democratic National Convention. And lo and behold delegates are required to present a photo ID to gain admission to the Time Warner Cable Arena. Given their position on Voter ID the hypocrisy of the Democratic Party is simply stunning. To those who have studied this issue and to the vast majority of the American people the evidence is overwhelming--Voter ID should be instituted in all 50 states. John Fund, National Affairs columnist for National Review has been on this story for years. His 2004 book "Stealing Elections" is considered to the seminal work on the subject. Hans von Spakovsky also knows voter fraud issues intimately. He spent four years at the Department of Justice working in the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division. He was appalled at what he saw. Fund and von Spakovsky have collaborated on an eye-opening new book "Who's Counting?: How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk". It is a stunning expose of how elections are routinely stolen and who is responsible. Until major reforms are undertaken you will never look at our electoral process in the same way again.

The authors trace the origins of the problem back to the passage of the National Voter Registration Act or "Motor Voter Law" back in 1993. This dubious legislation requires state governments to allow for registration when a person applies for or renews their driver's license or applies for welfare. No identification is required. God forbid that someone would have to take an hour to appear at their local Board of Canvassers to register. Progressives characterize that as a "hardship". Meanwhile, liberals around the country have been busy ramming through legislation such as "no fault" absentee voting whereby people are allowed to vote by mail for virtually any reason. Once again no ID is required. The evidence compiled by Fund and von Spakovsky makes it abundantly clear that the opportunity for voter fraud increases exponentially with the use of absentee ballots. And that is just fine and dandy with some unscrupulous candidates and political organizations. The authors have dubbed chapter 6 of their book "Absentee Ballots--The `Tool of Choice' of Vote Thieves" and cite specific examples of voter fraud that occurred in Greene County, Alabama back in 1994. A federal investigation uncovered the following: 1) 60 ballots sent to one P.O. Box, 2) absentee ballots stolen from voters mailboxes, 3) voters threatened with loss of public assistance and 4) votes were cast in the name of voters who were dead or who no longer resided in the county.

Sticking to the Voter ID issue Fund and von Spakovsky go on to cite an interesting case from my home state of Rhode Island where Voter ID was passed just last year. One of the chief proponents of Voter ID was Harold Metts, a 69 year old African-American state senator and a lifelong Democrat. Metts revealed that he had been fielding complaints for years from his mostly black and Latino constituents in the inner city of Providence. What is truly instructive is the event that convinced him that Voter ID was needed. His own state representative Anastasia Williams, an outspoken liberal herself, revealed that she and her daughter had their votes stolen in 2006 by people voting in their name. Metts joined forces with the Democratic Secretary of State Ralph Mollis to campaign for passage of a Voter ID law in the Ocean State. Much to my surprise the law was passed by our mostly Democratic legislature and signed into law by our "lefty" independent governor Lincoln Chafee. It was a reform that was long overdue!

Throughout the book von Spakovsky recalls his stormy four year tenure at the Department of Justice. While there he discovered that the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division was packed with liberal lawyers. Conservatives need not apply. To me the most disturbing observation made by the author is that there are nearly 80 lawyers assigned to enforce voting rights laws while there are just two to investigate voter fraud. It is abundantly clear where the priorities of the department lie. And it has only gotten worse under Attorney General Eric Holder who simply refuses to investigate alleged voter fraud. Meanwhile, what I found equally disturbing in "Who's Counting?" are the persistent calls by those on the left to abolish the Electoral College. The latest was made by former Vice President Al Gore in just the past couple of days. The authors argue passionately and convincingly the National Popular Vote (NPV) would be a very bad idea. They also reveal that there is an extremely sinister plan afoot by those on the left to circumvent the constitutional amendment route to achieve this goal. Very disturbing indeed!

When I was growing up my father warned me about people who would "do anything to win". That was great advice but unfortunately there are growing numbers among us who fit that description. "Who's Counting: How Fraud and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk" presents us with a comprehensive and rather chilling overview of the challenges we face in conducting honest elections in this nation. In the final chapter of the book entitled "What Is To Be Done" the authors offer up a number of common sense solutions to correct many of these problems and abuses. While the need for Voter ID may be the centerpiece of their presentation, John Fund and Hans von Spakovsky cover a number of other problems and abuses that compromise our electoral process in great detail. The next time someone tries to tell you that voter fraud is grossly exaggerated or virtually non-existent don't you believe it! Rather, refer that individual to "Who's Counting?" Tell them that this is an extremely well written and meticulously researched book with more than 30 pages of endnotes. Then challenge them to come up with some credible evidence to the contrary. Very highly recommended!]]> Tue, 11 Sep 2012 09:00:21 +0000
<![CDATA[The World America Made Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> Sat, 3 Mar 2012 18:10:35 +0000 <![CDATA[ We won the jobs war from 1970-2000. What next ?]]> The Coming Jobs War by James Clifton begins with the
USA having won the 1970-2000 jobs war by leading in new internet
technologies, superior business models and export knowhow.
 Winning future jobs wars can preserve the current 25% USA
share of  the global economy. James Clifton believes that this
growth can be sustained by tapping the resources of large cities,
 huge universities and the community connections
possessed by local leaders.

Most solutions begin locally. James Clifton believes that whatever
improves the jobs picture at the neighborhood level should be facilitated
through the prism of local leadership. If rezoning improves jobs and
economic opportunity, then part of the solution is to rezone.
In the new economy, there is a definite need for entrepreneurialship
or salesmanship. Leaders of countries who create new jobs require
adequate support systems in law, education, military plans for
transitioning resources for peaceful use and municipal planning.

Student engagement is needed to prevent large drop-out rates.
Key personal traits ae excellence in mathematics coupled with
leadership skills. Ultimately, student graduation is a very
important predictor of a municipality's future innovation and
entrepreneurialship potential.

Increments in the GDP are good for workers because new
jobs are created in the economy and more people are hired.
When more people are hired, consumer spending increases.
Growth may be achieved by cutting taxes and raising business
output.  When take-home pay is reduced, spending is
lowered , as well as GDP. China's GDP is expected to reach
$70 trillion dollars by 2040 with the United States trailing
at $30 trillion dollars in the same time frame.

The Coming Jobs War demonstrates that health care costs
are a large fiscal drain by multiple layers of government.
The area of behavioral economics recognizes that
more optimal eating choices, smoking cessation and moderation
in drinking are critical ingredients to reducing health care costs
rationally and permanently.

The Coming Jobs War by James Clifton is a wonderful
book which explains how the United States can keep
growing well into the future provided that simple steps
are taken now.

Credits: First Published on Blogcritics]]> Wed, 8 Feb 2012 03:43:00 +0000
<![CDATA[ SOPA/PIPA - My Letter to the Government]]>
Dear Senator,

I guess it would be redundant to ask for the release of the monetary figures it took to get this bill a foothold in Congress. Exchanges for bills like that tend to happen only under the table. Perhaps that's part of SOPA's appeal - stopping The Smoking Gun from blowing the lid off ny more Congressional scandals which the public should know about.

You'll have to forgive me for automatically assuming corporate payoffs were involved in getting SOPA and PIPA so much as a mention uttered under one Congressman's breath. We have a particular law in this country stating, in these exact words, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." Congress shall make no law... Abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press. What part of that clause is so difficult to understand?

Understand that as a writer who has created a name for himsef online, I believe that the First Amendment - and the issues of free speech and free press in particular - might be kind of, sort of important. As I tend to frequently employ harsh language, I am seeing a future of a thousand tickets, at the very least, which I couldn't possibly afford.

As one who has a masterful command of the English language, I can also see a whole lot of wiggle room in the vague, technology-deficient, broad language. Interpretations tend to vary quite a bit, and the desires of the Attorney General and organizations like the MPAA and RIAA will probably bend and flex according to whatever interpretation suits their momentary needs. The RIAA in particular stands to be abusive on a level which rivals the Kim family in North Korea. Lest we not forget, the RIAA is an organization which has never quite come to terms with the very existence of the internet, and they have a ridiculous history of trying to sentence ten-year-olds to years in jail for downloading three songs which cost a collective total of about 15 cents.

Furthermore, it has been claimed that SOPA and PIPA will create thousands of new jobs. I'm well-read on the basic mechanics of a free-market economy, and I can safely say this claim is just bunk thrown out by SOPA and PIPA supporters attempting to parlay the needs of the American publc into support so they can keep their profits and hopefully get some fresh new lawsuit cash from the aforementioned flexible interpretations. As SOPA and PIPA would effectively close down the less-moneyed websites that can't aford lawyers, costing thousands more jobs. This is something that even the staunchest supporters of a centralized economy have pointed out!

I have looked at the list of supporters for these bills and have noticed that nearly all 142 of them are enormous corporations who would be the only ones to benefit from SOPA/PIPA enforcement. The NFL is on the list, and they have a monopoly which is not only legal, but recognized and enforced by the United States government! Makeup giants Revlon and L'Oreal, printing giant Random House, several television giants, MasterCard and Visa, Marvel, Disney Publishing Worldwide, Time Warner, MCA, and Sony are all supporting it. I can't say the presence of any of them is surprising.

This country is not the United States of China or North Korea. It is not the United Soviet States of America. It was built on a foundation guaranteeing every individual protection from infringement of their freedom of expression. That goes for everyone in the country - as a private citizen, the government has no right to make a law silencing me, either on behalf of its own desires or on behalf of some other private individual or organization. No matter how much money it's waving in front of Congressman Du Jour's face.

Please vote no on SOPA and PIPA. Then if possible, burn it and never speak of it again.

Nicholas Croston]]> Thu, 19 Jan 2012 01:11:42 +0000
<![CDATA[Rick Perry Quick Tip by BaronSamedi3]]> Fri, 13 Jan 2012 01:49:36 +0000 <![CDATA[ Redfern's KEEP OUT! May Only Entice More Readers To Want In!]]>  
You can always count of Nick Redfern for some quality conspiracy literature.  He’s a recognized expert in areas of UFOs, Bigfoot, conspiracies, and other unsolved mysteries.  His books have run the gamut from alien abduction to exposes on the infamous ‘Men in Black’ to the search for elusive creatures hidden in various environments around the world.  In his latest book, KEEP OUT! TOP SECRET PLACES GOVERNMENTS DON’T WANT YOU TO KNOW ABOUT, he serves up a virtual smorgasbord of ‘whose-its’ and ‘what’s-its’ that makes the world of the paranormal so compelling for its readers.
Several of the locations explored here have been covered to greater explanation elsewhere – such as Nevada’s ultimate secret base, Area 51 – and one could make the strong argument that many of them are ripe enough for an entire book instead of serving only as fodder for an individual chapter in KEEP OUT!  But that’s the nature of the book – provide the reader with a functional overview of significant details and then push on to the next mystery.  These are summaries – as the book’s subtitle clearly indicates – so don’t look for exhaustive detail.  However, if you want a concise snapshot of the public history for Area 51 or Wright-Patterson Air Force Base or even Royal Air Force Base at Bentwaters-Woodbridge, then you can find them covered here.  Also, Redfern provides terrific context for the reader to capture the gist of the central mystery surrounding each of the secured locations, and that alone is the greatest service he offers with this release: here are the fine points, but, if you want to know more, you may need to go elsewhere.  For those inclined, he provides ample citations in the bibliography.
What Redfern has done is created a ‘soft’ reference book – a compendium of inter-related essays, really – that isn’t so much, per se, about geographic places that world governments necessarily prohibit their citizens from visiting (indeed, one can get to the outskirts of many cited military installations but not inside the perimeter without prerequisite authorization) so much as it is demonstrably proof that there are significant places about the Earth – Area 51, England’s possibly subterranean bases, underground bunkers, Hangar 18 – that governments openly and amply deny any association with.  Some of the chapters, in fact, don’t necessarily deal directly with any specific location so much as they highlight individuals associated to global or national conspiracies (i.e. the post-9/11 anthrax scare, Nazi mysteries of World War II, efforts to colonize the Moon, etc.); this is not to say that there aren’t certain “places” exposed in those chapters but rather to clarify that these specific locations aren’t necessarily the prime focus of those portions of the book.  You say “tom-A-to”, I say “tom-AH-to.”
It’s a brisk read told by a mind learned to the subject matter.  Arguably, you won’t find many minds better suited to the task at hand as laid out in the book’s introduction.  I’ve read several books on most matters explored here, and, while I would’ve hoped for something a bit meatier, KEEP OUT! still serves as an excellent primer for the subject matter as well as a healthy appetizer for my own search now that Redfern’s pointed me in some new directions … I had heard about the mysterious deaths of world-renowned microbiologists, so now I’m off to research the topic a bit more.  It’s good to know that Nick is already on the job!
Highly recommended.
In the interest of fairness, I’m happy to disclose that the kind folks at New Page Books provided me with a press copy for the purposes of completing this review.]]> Thu, 29 Dec 2011 21:26:28 +0000
<![CDATA[ Bill is the New George Carlin!]]>
Bill is very strong on saying that anyone not believing in climate change is living a fantasy, that the conservative Republican pundits have repeated certain untrue messages over and over that they are now accepted as being true (especially with things invovlving universal healthcare).

Though Bill is a comedian, he seems to be one of the few "liberal" voices that backs up what he says with cogent arguments (unlike the zannies at MSNBC). Nobody is immune to his ironic barbs including Democrats, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Though the bulk of his complaints are against the most conservative Republicans and pundits like Hannity and Limbaugh.

Bill has a funny preface which he even attacks the reader for being silly for reading the book's preface. In it he also states that this book is the second of a trilogy so another one will be coming in a few years (he needs time to build up more material).

If you can put all political predjudices aside and just read the book you will find it hilarious. I know I have seen several of the most Conservative of guests (Ann Coulter, Dan Issa ) laughing out loud at his New Rules segment on his HBO Real Time show.]]> Wed, 21 Dec 2011 21:44:40 +0000
<![CDATA[ President Lincoln's Views on Slavery]]> discussion of slavery, as well as views pro and con. Joshua Speed is considered to be
one of President Lincoln's best friends.

The letter explains how President Lincoln disliked slavery. As evidence, he recants how
slaves were shackled together en route from Louisville to Ohio. The destruction of the
Missouri Compromise was considered violence by him. In addition, President Lincoln
believed that every slave taken to Kansas is free. The President took great pains to
explain the two-faced nature of slaveowners. On the one hand, they would support
Kansas as a free state due to Christian beliefs. On the other, slaveowners would
never support anyone in politics who believed in freeing slaves.

President Lincoln referred briefly to the Know Nothings by criticizing them for their
prejudices. Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics."

The full text of this famous letter appears below:

Springfield, Illinois
August 24, 1855

Dear Speed:

You know what a poor correspondent I am. Ever since I received your very agreeable letter of the 22nd. of May I have been intending to write you in answer to it. You suggest that in political action now, you and I would differ. I suppose we would; not quite as much, however, as you may think. You know I dislike slavery; and you fully admit the abstract wrong of it. So far there is no cause of difference. But you say that sooner than yield your legal right to the slave -- especially at the bidding of those who are not themselves interested, you would see the Union dissolved. I am not aware that any one is bidding you to yield that right; very certainly I am not. I leave that matter entirely to yourself. I also acknowledge your rights and my obligations, under the constitution, in regard to your slaves. I confess I hate to see the poor creatures hunted down, and caught, and carried back to their stripes, and unrewarded toils; but I bite my lip and keep quiet. In 1841 you and I had together a tedious low-water trip, on a Steam Boat from Louisville to St. Louis. You may remember, as I well do, that from Louisville to the mouth of the Ohio, there were, on board, ten or a dozen slaves, shackled together with irons. That sight was a continued torment to me; and I see something like it every time I touch the Ohio, or any other slave-border. It is hardly fair for you to assume, that I have no interest in a thing which has, and continually exercises, the power of making me miserable. You ought rather to appreciate how much the great body of the Northern people do crucify their feelings, in order to maintain their loyalty to the Constitution and the Union.

I do oppose the extension of slavery, because my judgment and feelings so prompt me; and I am under no obligation to the contrary. If for this you and I must differ, differ we must. You say if you were President, you would send an army and hang the leaders of the Missouri outrages upon the Kansas elections; still, if Kansas fairly votes herself a slave state, she must be admitted, or the Union must be dissolved. But how if she votes herself a slave State unfairly -- that is, by the very means for which you say you would hang men? Must she still be admitted, or the Union be dissolved? That will be the phase of the question when it first becomes a practical one. In your assumption that there may be a fair decision of the slavery question in Kansas, I plainly see you and I would differ about the Nebraska-law. I look upon that enactment not as a law, but as violence from the beginning. It was conceived in violence, passed in violence, is maintained in violence, and is being executed in violence. I say it was conceived in violence, because the destruction of the Missouri Compromise, under the circumstances, was nothing less than violence. It was passed in violence, because it could not have passed at all but for the votes of many members in violence of the known will of their constituents. It is maintained in violence because the elections since, clearly demand it's repeal, and this demand is openly disregarded. You say men ought to be hung for the way they are executing that law; and I say the way it is being executed is quite as good as any of its antecedents. It is being executed in the precise way which was intended from the first; else why does no Nebraska man express astonishment or condemnation? Poor Reeder is the only public man who has been silly enough to believe that any thing like fairness was ever intended; and he has been bravely undeceived.

That Kansas will form a Slave Constitution, and, with it, will ask to be admitted into the Union, I take to be an already settled question; and so settled by the very means you so pointedly condemn. By every principle of law, ever held by any court, North or South, every negro taken to Kansas is free; yet, in utter disregard of this -- in the spirit of violence merely -- that beautiful Legislature gravely passes a law to hang men who shall venture to inform a negro of his legal rights. This is the substance, and real object of the law. If, like Haman, they should hang upon the gallows of their own building, I shall not be among the mourners for their fate.

In my humble sphere, I shall advocate the restoration of the Missouri Compromise, so long as Kansas remains a territory; and when, by all these foul means, it seeks to come into the Union as a Slave-state, I shall oppose it. I am very loth, in any case, to withhold my assent to the enjoyment of property acquired, or located, in good faith; but I do not admit that good faith, in taking a negro to Kansas, to be held in slavery, is a possibility with any man. Any man who has sense enough to be the controller of his own property, has too much sense to misunderstand the outrageous character of this whole Nebraska business. But I digress. In my opposition to the admission of Kansas I shall have some company; but we may be beaten. If we are, I shall not, on that account, attempt to dissolve the Union. On the contrary, if we succeed, there will be enough of us to take care of the Union. I think it probable, however, we shall be beaten. Standing as a unit among yourselves, you can, directly, and indirectly, bribe enough of our men to carry the day -- as you could on an open proposition to establish monarchy. Get hold of some man in the North, whose position and ability is such, that he can make the support of your measure -- whatever it may be -- a democratic party necessity, and the thing is done. Appropos [sic] of this, let me tell you an anecdote. Douglas introduced the Nebraska bill in January. In February afterwards, there was a call session of the Illinois Legislature. Of the one hundred members composing the two branches of that body, about seventy were democrats. These latter held a caucus, in which the Nebraska bill was talked of, if not formally discussed. It was thereby discovered that just three, and no more, were in favor of the measure. In a day of two Douglas ' [sic] orders came on to have resolutions passed approving the bill; and they were passed by large majorities!!! The truth of this is vouched for by a bolting democratic member. The masses too, democratic as well as whig, were even, nearer unanimous [sic] against it; but as soon as the party necessity of supporting it, became apparent, the way the democracy began to see the wisdom and justice of it, was perfectly astonishing.

You say if Kansas fairly votes herself a free state, as a Christian you will rather rejoice at it. All decent slaveholders talk that way; and I do not doubt their candor. But they never vote that way. Although in a private letter, or conversation, you will express your preference that Kansas shall be free, you would vote for no man for Congress who would say the same thing publicly. No such man could be elected from any district in a slave-state. You think Stringfellow & Co. ought to be hung; and yet, at the next presidential election you will vote for the exact type and representative of Stringfellow. The slave-breeders and slave-traders, are a small, odious and detested class, among you; and yet in politics, they dictate the course of all of you, and are as completely your masters, as you are the master of your own negroes. You inquire where I now stand. That is a disputed point -- I think I am a whig; but others say there are no whigs, and that I am an abolitionist. When I was in Washington I voted for the Wilmot Proviso as good as forty times, and I never heard of any one attempting to unwhig me for that. I now do no more than oppose the extension of slavery.

I am not a Know-Nothing. That is certain. How could I be? How can any one who abhors the oppression of negroes, be in favor or degrading classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy [sic].

Mary will probably pass a day to two in Louisville in October. My kindest regards to Mrs. Speed. On the leading subject of this letter, I have more of her sympathy that I have of yours. And yet let me say I am

Yours friend forever
A. Lincoln

Mr. Lincoln and Friends

Reference:]]> Tue, 20 Dec 2011 16:42:47 +0000
<![CDATA[Marijuana Legalization Quick Tip by woopak_the_thrill]]>
If it does get legalized, I hope the restrictions and guidelines don't get as annoying as with cigarettes. SF had gotten very silly with some ordinances, that smokers have begun to lose some of  their civil liberties.

]]> Sun, 11 Dec 2011 22:12:04 +0000
<![CDATA[Herman Cain Sexual Misconduct Allegations Quick Tip by BaronSamedi3]]> Wed, 7 Dec 2011 01:20:30 +0000 <![CDATA[ Easily reaches the level of wow]]>
Anyone who takes vitamins or nutritional supplements needs to know about the Codex Alimentarius Commission. Under the auspices of the UN and the World Health Organization, it is an international commission whose aim is to ban the sale of all herbs, vitamins and minerals for therapeutic purposes, and to have all nutritional supplements available only through a doctor's prescription. Do an internet search for "National Security Strategy Memorandum 200." Written by Henry Kissinger, it became official US policy in 1975. It advocates the radical de-population of the Third World, and is in line with elite support of eugenics, to get rid of all those "useless eaters."

Politicians keep talking about how American schools will prepare students to thrive in the 21st Century. The problem is that American schools, based on the Prussian model, were never designed to prepare students for anything, except to be quiet drones, who are paid to work, and not think. Normal activities like taking pictures around town can get a person arrested by Homeland Security. Do you remember President Obama's 2009 speech to schoolchildren across America? According to some, it was political indoctrination that would turn America's young people into mindless, Obama-loving zombies.

All banks pay into an FDIC reserve fund, which is supposed to help banks in trouble. In 1981, the federal balance sheet said that there was $11 billion in the fund. One day, the FDIC Chairman called the Treasury Secretary and asked to visit and see the money. He was told that there is no money; it was all put into the general fund long ago. So if a bank is in trouble, the Treasury simply borrows the money. Simple, no?

This book touches on a whole host of other subjects, including FEMA camps, TSA airport body scans that are not deleted, the 2008 financial crisis, implanting people with microchips, and ways to not become a "zombie." As with nearly anything by Jim Marrs, this easily reaches the level of Wow. It has something to upset nearly everyone. It is very highly recommended.  ]]> Thu, 24 Nov 2011 00:18:06 +0000
<![CDATA[ Fascinating Insight Into Arizona Politics from Gov. Jan Brewer's Perspective]]> SCORPIONS FOR BREAKFAST gives a personal look at her political journey and the decision-making process to critical issues of the day. The subtitle for this book clarifies the focus of this book, "My Fight Against Special Interests, Liberal Media, and Cynical Politicos to Secure America's Borders."

I found the pages eye-opening and they provided a perspective not given in the local news media (television or radio or newspaper). The book is well-written and the solid storytelling kept me turning the pages. I enjoyed reading it and recommend this book.]]> Mon, 21 Nov 2011 18:50:16 +0000
<![CDATA[ This is very much recommended]]>
The author was a total newbie, when, in 2004, she became the South Asia Bureau Chief of the Chicago Tribune. She spent much of her time in Afghanistan, when the world's attention was focused on Iraq. Everyone knew that they were fighting the "other war," so they tended to relax. Everyone, that is, except the Taliban, who spent the time quietly regrouping. President Hamid Karzai has been called "The Mayor of Kabul," because his influence extends only that far. According to Barker, even that description might be too generous.

Afghanistan is run by warlords, and is a place where your tribe or clan, and your language, is taken very seriously, especially if you find yourself in the "wrong" part of the country. Barker attends a training session of the Afghan National Police, the people who are supposed to take over after America leaves. Descriptions like "travesty" and "fiasco" come to mind. There is little, or no, coordination of aid, so the chances of aid getting to those who need it the most are tiny.

In Pakistan, the city of Islamabad is not just a sleepy, quiet city; one person described it as "twice as dead as Arlington National Cemetery." Barker is romantically pursued by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who offers to play matchmaker, and wants to be her "friend" (which has a very different meaning in Asia). Vacations in Europe or America are few and far between, and are usually cut short by some major happening in South Asia. For Barker, in both countries, there are a couple of attempts at romance, which don't end well. She meets a constantly changing group of journalistic colleagues, aid workers, military people and various kinds of adrenaline junkies.

After several years of American money, effort and lives, why are Afghanistan and Pakistan still so messed up (for lack of a better term)? This book does a fine job at giving the answer. This is not meant to be a sober political analysis of both countries, but one person's subjective chronicle. It is very much recommended.]]> Sun, 13 Nov 2011 01:27:37 +0000
<![CDATA[ Dealing Forthrightly With Inequities]]> The Occupation of Wall Street, Zuccotti Park and burgeoning movements across the USA and abroad have a singular aim, which is to achieve a more equitable distribution of wealth to the lower and middle classes. More than a half million dollars in cash, clothing, food and other donations have come to the protesters in Lower Manhattan. Even some elected officials have come to the aid of the protesters. Sub-groups of protesters have emerged all over the United States.

When the occupation first evolved in Zuccotti Park on or about the night of Sept. 17, only a few hearty souls spent the night. At this point over 200 people including students, union members and other interested parties have joined the occupation.

The focal point of the movement is summed up as follows: “We are the 99 percent.” Ostensibly, the other one percent are the holders of most of the wealth in the United States. Over the past decades, more money has been flowing to the corporate top echelon as CEO and senior staff average salaries have ballooned from 40 times the entry level salary to 400 times and growing.

And so, the challenge is to deal with this aspect forthrightly. Only the boards of directors, professional human resource entities within corporate organizations and trade associations have the power, discretion and authority to adjust compensation more equitably throughout the respective member organizations. This is not something that any governmental unit can mandate except through moral suasion and perhaps changes to the tax code.

A number of corporate organizations have made successful changes in the equitable distribution of profits, among them Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream and Avis. From the outset, Ben and Jerry's set the executive salary structure at a very reasonable level. Avis changed ownership multiple times in the seventies and eighties, becoming employee-owned in 1987.

President Roosevelt was able to limit executive compensation successfully by ultimately taxing exorbitant salaries at a much higher rate. The basic threshold was over $25,000, or equivalently, $350,000 or so in today's inflated dollar. After $25,000, salary increments were taxed at 90 percent or more. These resources were used to pay down the national debt, which ballooned after the conclusion of World War II, which followed the Great Depression. In the days of the Great Depression, corporate organizations increasingly found other forms of non-cash compensation such as stock options to reward the top corporate executives and alleviate cash flow problems.

A mainstay of the protest is that the organizational structure is organic or non-hierarchical which may limit the effectiveness of the struggle. The participants have yet to formulate a clear vision with specific goals and conditions precedent to ending the occupation or translating the movement into a political force like The Tea Party movement and others.

The Civil Rights movement was a proactive movement of people with an important mission to advance civil rights throughout the United States and even beyond. The factor which coalesced the movement was a mission and assertive leadership at the top of the organization.

Another important dynamic in satisfying the quality of life issues that plague the Wall Street protesters is bringing unemployment and underemployment to much lower levels. The extreme automation, downsizing and computerization of American industry have replaced people with machines at an increasing rate. However, the United States inevitably will experience a labor shortage as the baby boom generation retires this decade and thereafter.

At bottom, the United States needs to export more goods and services, as well as nourish the growth of new industries and processes such as solar and wind energy, the artificial sun, whole/organic foods production and distribution, electric and natural gas vehicles, the electronic grid, small business, patenting, home remodeling, municipal transport systems and the whole infrastructure area in general.

The small family farm has been dying for decades. This cottage industry needs to reformulate and grow. This act alone would serve to bring down unemployment, underemployment and food prices, which have been on the rise. 

Credits: First Published on Blogcritics]]> Tue, 8 Nov 2011 03:56:48 +0000
<![CDATA[Occupy Oakland Quick Tip by woopak_the_thrill]]>
It is quite sad that the real protestors may have been joined by others with no other goals than to promote anarchy, chaos and riots. Like when the Giants won the World Series last Year, I laughed as some people who never cared about the team before just joined the bandwagon, but this is way more serious. It is the same in this movement, as some people joined the protest, just so they can have an excuse and in doing so they damage the movement. I do not think the riots are a product of the real protestors since there are groups of protestors who stood guard over the small business establishments damaged by the riots to keep anyone from looting.

I did have mixed feelings as to how they seemed to keep truck drivers trying to make a living but I heard it was just until 9 am.

Chaos and riots will only hurt the goals of the movement. Funny how "Occupy SF" is much more orderly.....I think tempers just flared up more in Oakland....]]> Thu, 3 Nov 2011 22:53:24 +0000
<![CDATA[ A principled conservative leader reflects on the past two tumultuous years.]]> Jim DeMint of South Carolina was elected to the United States Senate in 2004 he hardly expected to become a household name.  After all, DeMint had represented South Carolina's 4th Congressional District for three terms and most Americans had never heard of him to that point.  But Jim DeMint was a committed conservative who was extremely unhappy with the direction the country was heading in. To him it didn't seem to matter whether it was Democrats or Republicans in charge.  The federal government continued to grow at an alarming rate.  While in the House of Representatives DeMint had opposed two of President George W. Bush's major first-term initiatives which were the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001 and The Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act in 2003.  Furthermore,  he was unhappy with the way President Bush was handling the war in Iraq and was steadfastly opposed to the whole notion of earmarks.  He decided he would run for the U.S. Senate in 2004 and was determined to fight for fiscal sanity in Washington if elected.   When Senator Jim DeMint took his oath of office in January 2005 he had no idea that one day soon he would become the spokesman for a cause and one of the leaders of a movement.  "The Great American Awakening:  Two Years That Changed America, Washington, and Me" chronicles the raucous first two years of the Obama administration when it became crystal clear to Jim DeMint and millions of average Americans that radical changes were needed to alter the way Washington was doing business.  

If Jim DeMint was unhappy with the direction that George W. Bush had been taking this country he was positively outraged by the approach taken by President Barack Obama and the Democrats in early 2009.  Mr. Obama was spending money like a drunken sailor, bypassing Congress with both a series of executive orders and  the appointment of so-called "czars" who were not subject to Congressional oversight.  This was not the "change" most Americans had been looking for.  Jim DeMint assumed that the Republicans in the Senate would fight the President tooth and nail on many of these important issues.  He would be sadly mistaken and discovered that far too many of his colleagues were much more inclined to "go along to get along" than to stand up for conservative principles.  And so he decided to take matters into his own hands and formed the Senate Conservatives Fund (SCF), a political action committee that is "dedicated to electing strong conservatives to the United States Senate" in the spring of 2009.  The first candidate endorsed by SCF was Pat Toomey who was challenging the incumbant Republican Senator Arlen Spector in Pennsylvania.   

It was at about this time that a new grassroots conservative movement known as the Tea Party was beginning to emerge all across America.  Members of the Tea Party were hardly the wild-eyed radicals they were being portrayed as in the mainstream media.  Rather, they were the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker who owned and operated small businesses.  They were also hard-working Americans who went to work each and every day, paid taxes and obeyed the law.  These folks were genuinely frightened by the direction President Obama and the leaders in Congress were headed in.  The Tea Party stood for fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free markets.  They also want existing immigration laws enforced and strongly opposed Obamacare.  Despite the public outcry the Obama administration pressed ahead with its radical agenda.  During the summer of 2009 Tea Party members would make their displeasure known at town hall meetings in cities and towns from Maine to California and from Florida to Alaska.  The Tea Party was not going away and Senator Jim DeMint counted himself among its most ardent supporters.  He was asked to speak at several of their rallies and was all too happy to accept.
The rise of the Tea Party dovetailed quite nicely with Jim Demint's Senate Conservative's Fund.  Enthusiasm for the cause was building and several more articulate and highly-qualified conservative candidates would come forward to compete for seats in the United States Senate.  Jim DeMint would put principle ahead of party and lend a hand to all of them.  He was viewed by leadership as something of a pariah and his determination to support true conservatives would place a strain on his relationship with several of his Republican colleagues.  No matter.  Jim DeMint firmly believed he was doing the right thing and the election results in 2010 would seem to bear that out.  "The Great American Awakening: Two Years That Changed America, Washington, and Me" is a great way to look back at these two turbulent years in American politics. Jim DeMint offers interesting perspectives on what has gone down so far and what is likely to take place in 2012. It sure isn't boring.  Highly recommended!]]> Fri, 21 Oct 2011 21:57:05 +0000
<![CDATA[ The Return of The Order of The Phoenix]]> Trust is what built relationships and relationship is what established corporations. When trust is being manipulated or misplaced by one party of the equation, the whole foundation collapses. That's what the global banking system and governments are "enforcing" on the majority of the world population now. Herein lies the uprising of the worldwide Occupy Wall Street movement.

I was there as an observer (albeit bystander) on Saturday, October 15. In the Chinese saying, the bystander sees clearly (旁观者清). When one is able to remove one's interest (in more way than one) from the equation, one sees enlightenment and solutions.
To change a "corrupted" out of equilibrium world, there are 2 major considerations and components:
1) Affect - Who?
2) Effect - What?
How to bring about the desired outcome without toppling the entire human population and how to generate the sum greater than the whole of all its individual parts?

Most want a banking system to do what it was intended to do. The spirit of banking was good. What had changed over the last 2 decades or so (especially the last one) is the workings and reinforcement of the system. Financial engineering (mastering, according to the insiders) and leveraging by a few selected priveleged individuals have brought PAIN to the society at large, savers and investors alike.
The governments have "consequently" been pulled into the "Ponzi" scheme involuntarily (in some cases, claiming ignorance does not and should not leave them unpunished)! By hook or by crook, they are still in charge and to a larger extent, in daze. Trick or treat? You decide!
In the grand scheme of things, collective enlightenment only comes when the majority wakes up from this slumber. And, I'm glad to see some have! Not nearly enough though but is still comforting to see I'm not the only one in the world!

No, we do not want the banking system to fail. We want a new order, the Order of the Phoenix! Proctect HP (Harry Potter, Human Population at large) and eliminate the wicked Voldemort! There are clearly parasites in the tree of life and if they are not totally removed, it will destroy the entire eco system. Death will be imminent. 
That my friend is my take on Occupy Wall Street 101. What is yours?!

Related Articles:
Original Sin
The World is GREEDY!
Banking 101 - Systematic Failure
The financial coup d'etat

(A Lunch Featured Review)
 ]]> Sun, 16 Oct 2011 13:11:01 +0000
<![CDATA[Get Money Out Campaign Quick Tip by jbeswick]]>
Dylan - one of the people I'd most like have a beer with - is collecting signatures for support. Sounds like a great idea to me seeing as we have a completely bought Congress hell-bent on sending the country to the bottom of the ocean.

You can sign up here:]]> Fri, 14 Oct 2011 20:43:00 +0000
<![CDATA[ The Earth is a Harsh Mistress Now]]> The Moon is a Harsh Mistress appeared in 1966.  I probably read it in my early high school years and certainly multiple times.  I always liked it and have never really forgotten the plot.  But I haven't read it in more than 20 years and I am sure I did not know about Peak Oil whenever that was.  Recently something clicked in my brain and caused me to connect some dots along a different route so I went back and read it again.

The fundamental driver of this story is that the Moon is running out of water, or ice if you want to be picky.  Of course in 1966 we had not gotten to the Moon and nobody knew if any water was there.  But anyway, the Earth is overpopulated in the year 2075 and wheat is being grown in the Moon and shipped back to Earth.  Of course wheat requires water, so in effect the Loonies are sending their water to Earth.

But the story actually starts with a computer repair man talking to an intelligent computer that has spontaneously become conscious.  We still don't have conscious computers which can comprehend reality, so this was a nice twist in 1966.  But the computer comes up with more accurate and frightening numbers for when the water is going to run out so something needs to be done pronto.  Thus Heinlein launches us into a semi-practical thought experiment about economics, politics and war driven by resource depletion.

Now the reason this book came to mind is that I finally made the connection between Peak Oil and running out of the fictional water in the Moon of this story.  That is why I decided to read it again.  Now this book is ballyhooed by Libertarians because of its economic philosophy but there are plenty of people who regard it as naive or even socially immoral and incompetent.  There are twice as many men in the Moon in this story as women so that makes for some strange social relations.  Or at least it does in the mind of Robert Heinlein.

I would rate this book as 9 out of 10 in part because of the social thought experiment it has presented us with in resource depletion and its consequences.  But many reviews of this book are quite strange.  Russ Allerby gave this book a 6 out of 10 in 2005.

He makes no mention of the words ice, water, farm, wheat, or population so he never really explains the background and driving force of the entire story.  Starvation in seven years would tend to concentrate people's attention remarkably well.   Instead he complains about a computer that is too smart, the naive economics and Heinlein's absurd group marriages.

The future is not going to be what any science fiction writer imagines.  But that does not mean that lots of people can't get ideas about possible ways to create different futures if given some suggestions.  Because whatever it is, it is going to be different from what we have now so we need to be thinking about the possibilities, especially those we want to avoid.  But resource depletion forcing people into desperate situations is one of those possibilities, or even likely probabilities, in this century.  So that is a reason to read this book despite what some people may regard as its literary flaws.

Something I did not recall was that Heinlein mentioned Loglan in the book.  Loglan is an artificially created language and stands for Logical Language.  Naturally evolved languages tend to have logical flaws which resulted from their development during pre-scientific ages.  Like the word sunrise being about the Sun becoming visible due to the rotation of the Earth not the Sun actually rising.  Heinlein was among a number of science fiction writers interested in General Semantics and he attended meetings about the subject in the 1940s.  He also talks about neural networks in relation to computers.  I don't recall that being mentioned until the 80s in the computer field though I certainly was not at the heart of cybernetic research.  But for it to be used in a 1966 sci-fi book is a bit eyebrow raising.

Here are more reviews that do not think much of the tale:

But again there is no mention of the Lunatics running out of ice and starving.  Instead there are complaints about the prose.

I suppose  some people should not read REAL science fiction because they do not understand what it is really about.  It might make them think too much.
.]]> Sun, 25 Sep 2011 22:16:09 +0000
<![CDATA[Herman Cain Quick Tip by drifter51]]> Sun, 25 Sep 2011 11:09:43 +0000 <![CDATA[Solyndra Quick Tip by drifter51]]> Tue, 20 Sep 2011 21:02:24 +0000 <![CDATA[ THE BLACK BANNERS Reveals Not Everything Is Black-and-White]]>  
For starters, it’s a tremendous and personal work.  Clocking in at just over 600 pages, it’s a wealth of history about al-Qaida and the terrorist organization’s various major (and a few minor) players.  And, as Mr. Soufen repeatedly suggests to those around him, “it all starts back in 1979 when …”  He provides outstanding context for the background, and he allows the story to build reasonably from there.  Consequently, the book is a comprehensive accounting of names, dates, and places, and, no doubt, it’s penned by one committed and impressive mind that have synthesized a vast canvass of data into the effective conclusions that our narrator does.  In his bid to tell the definitive insider’s story of 9/11, Mr. Soufen clearly is the best-educated, best-prepared, and best-suited to enlighten all of us with where the mindset of such an act began, and the first half of his book goes to great pains to bring the reader up-to-speed on how a few decades of history climaxed with that seminal moment: the destruction of the two World Trade Center towers.
For the reader, it’s an at times frustrating experience in all of its 600 pages.  This isn’t intended as a slight toward Mr. Soufen – I think the very nature of exploring these events and the people who caused them strays into territory where some may fear to tread – but there may have been a better person to tell this story so that so much of it didn’t appear so personal to him.  Immersing oneself inside the story, by its very nature, brings the narrator to life, and that drags all the good, the bad, and the ugly into the spotlight and places it alongside the bad guys here.  Whether he intended it this way or not, Soufen became the focus (for this reader, anyway) at key points in the narrative; as the story went on, I found myself mildly less-and-less interested in the war and more drawn to the narrator, in not a good way.
For example, Soufen almost lovingly (and dangerously) narrates the backstory of al-Qaida’s leadership, exploring the men’s history, hopes, and dreams, underscoring to the reader that, perhaps at some point in their past, they were not different from you or I … and, well, yes, I suppose that’s true except for that whole little ‘jihad to bring down Western civilization,’ that is.  In his bid to extract information as a lead interrogator, Soufen laughs with them; he cries with them; and he even prays with them … so long as it will get them one step closer to sharing intel and a confession to aid the United States in stopping al-Qaida’s mission of destruction.  And, just maybe, therein rests the only real problem I had with the book: Ali Soufen and his ‘band of Untouchables’ can do no wrong here.  Indeed, Soufen’s own actions take on almost mythic proportions as he almost singlehandedly saves himself and his partners from increasingly treacherous circumstances as the narrative builds.  Only he can get the terrorists to talk.  Only he can bridge the gap between the United States and the Yemeni soldiers surrounding his plane upon arrival to question suspects in the USS Cole bombing.
It would seem to me (maybe I’m wrong) that, if Soufen were truly surrounded by intelligent, experienced interrogators, then much of what he narrates as having gone wrong couldn’t, wouldn’t and shouldn’t have gone wrong.  After all, would experienced interrogators really make so many blunders when anyone watching a full season of NYPD BLUE knows you can’t treat a suspect like that and get a useful confession?  Most of the interrogations errors explored here seemed really elementary – we’re talking “Interrogation 101” here, folks – and I found myself growing increasingly skeptical with the level of ineptness portrayed by every single agency except Soufen’s FBI.  I’m not saying that all of this sad expose didn’t happen the way Soufen says it did; I’m only saying I found it increasingly hard to believe that there were this many bumbling fools at the head of so much bureaucracy.  (Maybe it’s best that I don’t work in government!)
Still, the book breaks narrative not long after 9/11 happens as Soufen recounts a series of bizarre interrogations that he may or may not have participated in.  The book is unclear; from the author’s note, we learn that much of this account was censored by the CIA.  Soufen needed to keep his publication date, so he instead opted to publish the work with the requested excised words being blacked out.  The end result makes the sequence seem unintentionally dramatic if not downright cinematic.  Imagine the movie SAW if it was written by Tom Clancy, and you get the drift.  It’s downright surreal at a point when the reader probably didn’t need that.
To his credit, Soufen manages 99.9% of the time to keep this politically-charged story largely apolitical, and, for that alone, I’m immeasurably grateful.  I kept waiting for the book to turn into either a “bash Clinton” or a “bash Bush” or a “bash America” slugfest, and the author took great strides to avoid politicizing much of what could’ve easily been co-opted by any ideological agenda.  In fact, one could make a strong case for the fact that – if there’s any real corruption here – it’s in institutional corruption, demonstrated by the various turf wars intelligence agencies engage in frequently.  Though Soufen soundly comes down in support of his agency (the FBI), that’s a forgivable assumption (not conclusion) given the evidence presented here and the fact that it’s largely from one perspective (Soufen’s).  If there’s any indictment here, it’s probably that bureaucracies are bad – certainly not healthy arbiters of ‘best practices’ when military contractors are involved – and that’s a very safe argument anyone can embrace.  He’s clearly against enhanced interrogation procedures as his work demonstrates precisely how counterproductive they can be to the stated objectives, and he’s entitled to his opinion as the evidence shows.]]> Sun, 18 Sep 2011 12:54:57 +0000
<![CDATA[After America: Get Ready For Armageddon Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>
So, while I may agree with the author with some of the events, I do not agree with his tone of speech.]]> Sun, 28 Aug 2011 12:35:04 +0000
<![CDATA[ Learn why The Tea Party movement is a growing force in American politics.]]> "A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have." ---Thomas Jefferson

Truer words were never spoken. Tea Party members and their supporters know this instinctively.  We are seeing it happen right now before our very eyes.  Members of the Tea Party are not wild-eyed radicals as they as being portrayed in the mainstream media.  Rather, they are the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker who own and operate small businesses all across America.  They are also the hard-working individuals who go to work each and every day, pay taxes and obey the law.  These people are frightened by the direction President Obama and our leaders in Congress have been taking this country. They have found their voice in the Tea PartySenator Rand Paul of the great state of Kentucky is a newcomer to politics. When he announced his candidacy he was given little chance of being elected.  Senator Paul subscribes to much of what the Tea Party stands for. He firmly believes in a balanced budget and that across-the-board spending cuts are in order.  For Rand Paul there are absolutely no sacred cows. Senator Paul makes an impassioned case for a return to fiscal sanity in his new book "The Tea Party Goes To Washington". You will find an abundance of common sense in this volume.

In the pages of "The Tea Party Goes To Washington" Senator Paul reiterates time and again that he does not consider himself to be a leader of the Tea Party movement.  While he espouses many of the positions championed by Tea Party members Paul points out that the Tea Party is largely a grass roots movement that has sprung up spontaneously in cities and towns all over the country.  There is an old expression that says that "for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction."  Depending on where you are Tea Parties have been formed in reaction to issues like bank bailouts, auto bailouts, mortgage bailouts, stimulus, cap and trade, new business regulations and Obamacare.  Some Tea Party groups choose to focus more on state and local issues.  Paul points out that there is precious little communication between most of these groups and that by design the movement lacks strong and identifiable leaders.  He believes that this is the way that it should be and is confident that the Tea Party will never be co-opted by the existing political establishment.

Throughout his primary and general election campaigns in 2010 Rand Paul was portrayed by his opponents, the political establishment and the mainstream media as some sort of kook who was totally out of touch with average Americans.  The voters in his state did not buy it and were ready to move in a new and different direction.  In "The Tea Party Goes To Washington" Paul offers up his thinking on how to resolve the current budget mess we are confronting in this country.  He is willing to take an ax not only to the social programs that are the darlings of those on the left but also to the bloated military budget that is the sacred cow of those on the right.  Currently, military spending by the United States accounts for 45% of the defense spending in the entire world. This is clearly unsustainable!  Rand Paul is also opposed to the whole notion of nation-building which he believes has caused the tremendous spike in defense spending over the past decade.  Being a practicing physician Rand Paul sees the sheer folly of Obamacare and has a lot to say about it in the book. Clearly he would like to see this ill-advised debacle repealed by the Congress.

Time and again in "The Tea Party Goes To Washington" Rand Paul harkens back to the Founding Fathers for wisdom and guidance.  He seems to be particularly fond of Thomas Jefferson.  Senator Paul believes that we can extricate ourselves from this mess but that the average citizen has to become more informed and involved in the process.  Despite all of the obstacles that they face he believes that the Tea Party will ultimately be successful in their quest to take back this country. These are not just conservative Republicans.  The Tea Party includes lots of disaffected Democrats and independents as well who love their country and want to put an end to the abuses that have been heaped upon them from above.  They are tired of being labeled as racists, homophobes and mean-spirited.   It is becoming increasing clear that the Tea Party movement is gathering steam as we head towards the 2012 elections and that the political establishment in both of the major political parties are scared to death of them.  In my view reading "The Tea Party Goes To Washington" would be a great way to get up to speed on all of these substantive issues.  If you have high school or college student in your family give them a copy.  Likewise if you own a copy pass it on to a neighbor or relative. Spread the word!  Unlike a number of other books I have read by politicians "The Tea Party Goes To Washington" is a thoughtful and extremely well written book.   Very highly recommended!]]> Fri, 12 Aug 2011 22:35:23 +0000
<![CDATA[ Nowhere to run!]]>
Well, if you are the few lucky ones who are debt free and still have lots of extra cash or financial papers or real estate, then congratulation to you. This is not of a survival matter. Whatever you have are more than you need and you can afford more than the rest of the world. You'll have your advisors to tell you what to do. No worries there.

For those who are scrapping by, this is a real bad news as we'll eventually see interest move up in the future. And if you have debt or funds to pay up these debt, time to pay up unless it's one of the fixed rate. Most of us will not have so much funds to pay up our entire loans or mortgages, that's why we took up the loan to begin with!!! Or for selected few, it is taking advantage of the low rates! 

So, what do you do if you do not have much cash and lots of real estates? If you can get them out at a good price (ie. still making money or even to the extent of losing some), it might just be a good idea to stay a little more liquid. Do not be greedy and think you can make huge sums of money these days. The idea is to just maintain your capital and not lose your money to devaluation!

Yes, the word is devaluation. One of the reasons why real estate is so popular and sought after in Asia. As soon as inflation creeps up, a lot of funds will move into physical assets like properties and gold so as to keep its value. Gold is already hitting new high of almost US$1700 as I'm writing this! It was already forecasted to hit some US$2000 in short term. Cash is fast becoming worthless as the US$ plunges as with the Euros. Other than some stronger currencies (in relativity to) like the Swiss Francs, Yen, Chinese Yuan and Singapore Dollar, the rest of the world is seeing their money turning into ashes. 

Inflation is the evil in the investing community. We have seen countries like Argentina, Brazil, Indonesia and to some extent Russia losing their currency values in the past and having to cope with hard times. This is nothing new in the world, not to mention Zimbabwe's sky high inflation. Many African countries are suffering from this condition. What is new now is that developed countries have not had that much experience with it. So, when rich countries and highly developed markets turned poorer and being seen as unable to honor their debts, what do the world do? 

When it comes to money, people are very much self-serving. This is coming from me and through my many years of experience in the finance industry. No one is an exception here. Well, almost no one. So, don't be deluded into thinking your neighbors are going to help you through hard times for an extended period of time. Sometimes, even your children or parents won't! You've to rely on yourself to get out of your bad shape, kinda like going on diet. No external help can do other than your own resolve. So, as with United States debt, only its people can do something about it. If not, be prepared for devaluation in the US$. It will come, be certain about that. By how much, that's the question you should be asking. 

Conservatively, I put it at around 20%. That's not hefty. In fact, many countries have seen their currencies "cut" by half in the process. And, that's an overnight thing. So, staying liquid means not staying all in US$ if you're American. Neither is it all in cash!

I do not like stocks now and neither do I like bonds. Gold is not the thing to keep for the long term as it had already doubled from its previous historical high. I can't tell you what to do but this is what I do if I've a hefty sums of money. I'd park it in some strong currencies and gold (may be 10% just for insurance). I'll wait for the time to buy land plot (although not easy to find in prime areas but you've got to see beyond the current prime areas but if you have enough funds, the idea is not to get yourself involved in the markets and instead go around to look for prime plots) and some prime real estate (perhaps even in the US as long as I don't have to take up mortgages on them). The idea is not to be subjected to high interest rates. As soon as rates go up, you can be sure that lots of people will be forced to liquidate their investments in real estate. And when that happened without anyone to take over, you will get real good value. So, be ready to take that chance when it happens!

One worrying trend is the riots and people taking to the streets, even in the developed world. Joblessness will make people do "crazy" things and will topple governments. That's one turmoil we all have to be ready for. How to be ready for some form of "turmoil"? Stock up on daily essentials. This is THE insurance anyone has to be ready for. When a country is without government and we know the risk is high nowadays, you still need to eat and to be able to stay safe in your home. When the supermarkets are not opened, when there is no cash out of your bank ATMs, that's something that you should have at the back of anyone's mind. Especially if you have kids at home. In addition, with the surging inflation, the best money you could "make" and save is in stocking up essentials before the prices shot up by ten and ten of percentage!

I do think we'll see some countries lose decade of growth like the Japanese did. Which country? Well, it's anyone's guess although the ones with the most debt will find it hard to see sunshine from the deep pit! 

Last but not least, recoveries through the printing of money is not real recovery. We all need to sell something to make our living. Same for any country. What is the United States going to sell now that it has capitalize on its reputation for quite some time? Military expertise? Technology? Land and resources? Immigration policy? That's a question I hope I've answer to, but unfortunately, I don't!

Hail Mary!

P.S. If you watch this interview, you might have spotted the Freudian slip there. Expect another credit rating downgrade on the Treasuries is not a far-fetched thought!

]]> Mon, 8 Aug 2011 03:38:45 +0000
<![CDATA[S&P Downgrade of United States' Credit Rating Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>

]]> Sun, 7 Aug 2011 01:21:30 +0000
<![CDATA[ All for "nothing"!]]> ItIt makes me wonder, is this a show of hands or is it simply a camouflage to the world? This tussle about the debt ceiling looks to me (possibly just me since I don't hear anyone talk about this "idea") like a signal to the world that should United States one day has to answer to its many debtors, it's a case of "we had tried our best to resolve the issue" rather than having to swallow the bitter pill wIt makes me wonder, is this a show of hands or is it simply a camouflage to the world? This tussle about the debt ceiling looks to me (possibly just me since I don't hear anyone talk about this "idea") like a signal to the world that should United States one day has to answer to its many debtors, it's a case of "we had tried our best to resolve the issue" rather than having to swallow the bitter pill when the day comes.I 
I wrote the following review before the announcement of the credit rating cut by S&P. As it turns out, more tremors would probably be felt in the markets in the next week/s.

As we all know it, when a country has to ask for a loan via the IMF or as did Greece ask its neighbors for support, the country has to come up with some tough measures. In the event that the U.S. will have to default on its loans one fine day, it can just say to the world it did try measures within itself even before it comes to that stage in life!
Majority of Lunch readers are American. So, this is a bitter pill to swallow. The day of reckoning will come, just as all of us who consumed and borrowed too much. Everyone alive will have to face that dreadful day. No country or individual will be exempted, it's simply a matter of time. Naturally, human tendencies are to drag things until one can't and at times when luck is shining upon us, we scrapped through. Will the U.S. still be favored? Is it not too late now you say? Personally, I think it's already too late. As we all know, in business, when things are not salvagable, the only measures is to write it off! Yes, all of it! To write off one's debt? Not as bad as it sounds. For a couple of years or at times decades, it's a loss of reputation and whatever privilege one has been accorded with. With time though, things are forgotten and the involved party can start to rebuild that reputation and "empire" again. So, it won't be a bad thing should the U.S. simply swallow its pride and work hard again, right from the bottom.

It's a foregone conclusion, as far as I'm concerned, that the U.S. will have to devalue its dollars, if not already. How much more? Perhaps another 20% conservatively. The tough part is not in devaluing but in the decade thereafter. The next 10 years or even 20 years will be the toughest in America's recent history. It's nothing new though, Britain had faced it, Spain had, Argentina had and many Asian countries have had too. So, this is the bad news for America, unfortunately. It's not the end of the world. It's just the end of a world that we are all well acquainted with. We will see major upheavals in the finance and business world very soon. The worst has yet to come and we are probably going to see dark clouds with major thunderstorms anytime in the next 24 months. Nothing an individual can do about, just be well prepared and know what to do when the typhoons or tsunamis hit our shore! 

According to CNNMoney, "The move is unprecedented -- and the effects unclear."

It's a foregone conclusion, as far as I'm concerned, that the U.S. will have to devalue its dollars, if not already. How much more? Perhaps another 20% conservatively. The tough part is not in devaluing but in the decade thereafter. The next 10 years or even 20 years will be the toughest in America's recent history. It's nothing new though, Britain had faced it, Spain had, Argentina had and many Asian countries have had too. So, this is the bad news for America, unfortunately. It's not the end of the world. It's just the end of a world that we are all well acquainted with. We will see major upheavels in the finance and business world very soon. The worst has yet to come and we are probably going to see dark clouds with major thunderstorms anytime in the next 24 months. Nothing an individual can do about, just be well prepared and know what to do when the typhoons or tsunamis hit our shore!is it simply a camouflage to the world? This tussle about the debt ceiling looks to me (possibly just me since I don't hear anyone talk about this "idea") like a signal to the world that should United States one day has to answer to its many debtors, it's a case of "we had tried our best to resolve the issue" rather than having to swallow the bitter pill when the day comes.
As we all know it, when a country has to ask for a loan via the IMF or as did Greece ask its neighbors for support, the country has to come up with some tough measures. In the event that the U.S. will have to default on its loans one fine day, it can just say to the world it did try measures within itself even before it comes to that stage in life!
Majority of Lunch readers are American. So, this is a bitter pill to swallow. The day of reckoning will come, just as all of us who consumed and borrowed too much. Everyone alive will have to face taht dreadful day. No country or individual will be exempted, it's simply a matter of time. Naturally, human tendencies are to drag things until one can't and at times when luck is shining upon us, we scrapped through. Will the U.S. still be favored? Is it not too late now you say? Personally, I think it's already too late. As we all know, in business, when things are not salvagable, the only measures is to write it off! Yes, all of it! To write off one's debt? Not as bad as it sounds. For a couple of years, it's a loss of reputation and whatever privilege one has been accorded with. With time though, things are forgotten and the involved party can start to rebuild that reputation and "empire" again. So, it won't be a bad thing should the U.S. simply swallow its pride and work hard again, right from the bottom.
It's a foregone conclusion, as far as I'm concerned, that the U.S. will have to devalue its dollars, if not already. How much more? Perhaps another 20% conservatively. The tough part is not in devaluing but in the decade thereafter. The next 10 years or even 20 years will be the toughest in America's recent history. It's nothing new though, Britain had faced it, Spain had, Argentina had and many Asian countries have had too. So, this is the bad news for America, unfortunately. It's not the end of the world. It's just the end of a world that we are all well acquainted with. We will see major upheavels in the finance and business world very soon. The worst has yet to come and we are probably going to see dark clouds with major thunderstorms anytime in the next 24 months. Nothing an individual can do about, just be well prepared and know what to do when the typhoons or tsunamis hit our shore!
]]> Sat, 6 Aug 2011 16:26:58 +0000
<![CDATA[Obama's Announcement of Debt Deal to End U.S. Debt Crisis Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> review for more details!

]]> Sat, 6 Aug 2011 15:34:38 +0000
<![CDATA[ I can think of a hundred better ways to spend your time and money.]]>
In "Of Thee I Zing" Laura Ingraham surveys the cultural landscape and offers up quips and rants on literally hundreds of issues. Now mind you I probably agree with Laura's observations at least 90% of the time as we are on the same page politically. But my biggest problem with these kinds of books is that I literally learn nothing. I am a voracious reader who devours about one nonfiction book per week. There are so many fascinating topics to learn about and so little time. I really don't care what Laura Ingraham, Michael Moore, Barbra Streisand or any other celebrity or media figure thinks about this stuff. I have been sucked into these kinds of books before and I always wind up kicking myself for wasting my time and money. So while I do appreciate my gift I like to think that I would never have bought "Off Thee I Sing" on my own.

If you are of the conservative persuasion then you might be someone who would enjoy "Of The I Zing: America's Cultural Decline from Muffin Tops to Body Shots". Surely Laura Ingraham does manage to make a number of very salient points along the way and some of her remarks and wisecracks are mildly amusing. But as I have made quite clear this is just not my cup of tea. With America drowning in a sea of red ink and our culture going to hell in a handbasket there are much more worthwhile books out there for you to consider. Definitely not recommended!]]> Fri, 5 Aug 2011 22:17:24 +0000
<![CDATA[Obama's Announcement of Debt Deal to End U.S. Debt Crisis Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>
I'm sorry to say this, folks. As with some economists, I agree with them on the note that "we ain't see the worst" yet! Run for cover! The BIG question is, where to?!?!]]> Fri, 5 Aug 2011 04:16:22 +0000
<![CDATA[Anders Behring Breivik Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> his world?

Taking innocent lives can never be the way, can it?!

For a country like Norway, where it was once the safest and one which has the highest GDP per capita in the world, this incident must have sent shocks and aftershocks in its society!]]> Sat, 30 Jul 2011 16:38:01 +0000
<![CDATA[Education Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>

Having said that, education needs to be a little more fun, enriching and stimulating than mere passing examinations! Adult education should be encouraged after having past schooling age! Many working adults are ill-prepared for the future, especially with regard to technology!]]> Tue, 28 Jun 2011 03:03:26 +0000
<![CDATA[ Strategy and Implementation in Afghanistan]]> __________

President Obama began his speech with a statement enunciating the dangers in the world. Thereafter, the President spoke to the details of our experience with the surge, its success and future plans for withdrawal of the United States and the Allies. Excerpts are set forth in boldface type.   1)

For this reason, in one of the most difficult decisions that I’ve made as President, I ordered an additional 30,000 American troops into Afghanistan.  When I announced this surge at West Point, we set clear objectives:  to refocus on Al Qaeda, to reverse the Taliban’s momentum, and train Afghan security forces to defend their own country.  I also made it clear that our commitment would not be open-ended, and that we would begin to draw down our forces this July.

President Obama began by discussing the dangers in the world and the justification of the surge of American troops into Afghanistan. Essentially, much of the most difficult work has been accomplished and the task of extricating ourselves from Afghanistan is just beginning. Both political spectra are weighing in on our commitment. One side would like to employ a very cautious approach in drawing down troops and support personnel. The other side would like to leave right now and utilize the budgetary resources for critical needs at home.

As a result, starting next month, we will be able to remove 10,000 of our troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year, and we will bring home a total of 33,000 troops by next summer, fully recovering the surge I announced at West Point. 

We’re starting this drawdown from a position of strength.  Al Qaeda is under more pressure than at any time since 9/11.  Together with the Pakistanis, we have taken out more than half of Al Qaeda’s leadership.

The information that we recovered from bin Laden’s compound shows al Qaeda under enormous strain.  Bin Laden expressed concern that Al Qaeda had been unable to effectively replace senior terrorists that had been killed, and that Al Qaeda has failed in its effort to portray America as a nation at war with Islam -- thereby draining more widespread support.  Al Qaeda remains dangerous, and we must be vigilant against attacks.  But we have put Al Qaeda on a path to defeat, and we will not relent until the job is done.

We're leaving Afghanistan but work remains to be done. We cannot have a perfect democracy in Afghanistan but a real process of self-determination is what the United States seeks to encourage. As we draw down, we must do so in a way that preserves the advantage we have in marginalizing the influence of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and its neighboring States.

In Afghanistan, we’ve inflicted serious losses on the Taliban and taken a number of its strongholds.  Along with our surge, our allies also increased their commitments, which helped stabilize more of the country.  Afghan security forces have grown by over 100,000 troops, and in some provinces and municipalities we’ve already begun to transition responsibility for security to the Afghan people. 

The Taliban have been marginalized but are they ready to negotiate?   Our Secretary Robert Gates believes that the Taliban may not be ready to negotiate until later this year. Ostensibly, they are coming around to the idea of negotiation; however, the leadership just isn't there yet.

From a negotiation standpoint, the Taliban must begin to believe that added conflict will gain little and the costs could be ruinous. On the other hand, real negotiations can set in motion economic progress to uplift the Afghan people and provide for a meaningful self-determination regionally.
Tribal governance is not necessarily receptive to the idea of collective cooperation.  i.e.

Tribes tend to come together in times of danger and challenge and to split into bands during times of relative respite. The bands allow survival in harsh economic environments. Smaller units are more mobile, more easily fed, and can run themselves with less infrastructure. Those clan memberships meanwhile provide the continuity of definition, the meaningfulness of tribal membership. One important thing about shared clan membership is that it guarantees hospitality among bands.

On the other hand, tribes are seldom friendly to their neighbors. Their histories are usually a continuous story of conflict one tribe against another. While outside invasion may bring tribes into temporary truce and even concerted action, that is not their normal situation. And individuals are not free to take a wider view when their personal identities are tied up in clan membership.

When developed countries try to impose nationhood on tribal areas, there is often an initial sense of nationality based on opposition to the colonialists. However, there is no reason to believe such nationalism will continue. 

And next May, in Chicago, we will host a summit with our NATO allies and partners to shape the next phase of this transition.

The next phase involves coordinating the exit of the United States and NATO recognizing the limitations of our efforts given the history of tribal governance. The best that can be hoped for is to arrive at a general consensus of tribal goals which permit self-determination and some economic progress without outside interference.

The West can offer new technologies like solar energy, desalination, a brand new infrastructure, cloud computing, brand new accounting systems, the Uniform Commercial Code  and many other instrumentalities to uplift the Afghan people permanently.


Weene, PhD,   Nation States Will Not Work in the Tribal World,  Basil and Spice,  July 2010

Article By: Dr. Joseph S. Maresca

Credits: First Published on Blogcritics 6-23- 2011
]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2011 14:12:22 +0000
<![CDATA[Prime Minister Netanyahu's Speech to the Congress Quick Tip by JSMaresca]]> Speech to the Congress and the reaction thereof. A number of members had very
unique perspectives to share.]]> Mon, 13 Jun 2011 04:17:49 +0000
<![CDATA[ Middle East Peace Themes]]> An Analysis of the Speech of  By Prime Minister Netanyahu to the Congress (5-24-11)
                                                                       By: Dr. Joseph S. Maresca

The article will begin with excerpts of the speech followed by critique of  Dr. Joseph S. Maresca.


In an unstable Middle East, Israel is the one anchor of stability...
You don’t need to do nation building in Israel. We’re already built.
You don’t need to export democracy to Israel. We’ve already got it.
You don’t need to send American troops to defend Israel. We defend ourselves...
Support for Israel’s security is a wise investment in our common future...

Israel is a stable democracy which can stand relatively on its own in an area of the
world with historic hostilities.

Millions of young people are determined to change their future. We all look at them.
They muster courage. They risk their lives. They demand dignity. They desire liberty. 
These extraordinary scenes in Tunis and Cairo, evoke those of Berlin and Prague in 1989.
Yet as we share their hopes, but we also must remember that those hopes could be snuffed
out as they were in Tehran in 1979...

The Middle East now is a caldron or hotbed of discontent due to years of neglect by potentates
at the top of a number of host governments. The situation is fluid and hopefully the scales will
tilt in favor of freedom because people everywhere are demanding it in the same way they did so
in Berlin and Prague in 1989.

We have a free press, independent courts, an open economy,
rambunctious parliamentary debates. You think you guys are tough on one another in Congress?
Come spend a day in the Knesset. Be my guest...

Israel is a country with open debate just like America. In contrast, many of its neighbors
punish the notion of open debate and civil disobedience . Recently, Syria killed hundreds in a
recent crackdown triggered by the arrests of teens in an uprising.
The regime's days are numbered.

Of the 300 million Arabs in the Middle East and North Africa, only Israel’s Arab citizens enjoy
real democratic rights. I want you to stop for a second and think about that. Of those 300 million Arabs, less than one-half of one-percent are truly free, and they’re all citizens of Israel! ...
The tyranny in Tehran brutalizes its own people. It supports attacks against American troops
in Afghanistan and Iraq. It subjugates Lebanon and Gaza. It sponsors terror worldwide...

Prime Minister Netanyahu claims that the truly free Arabs are the ones living under constitutional
processes in the State of Israel.     Iran is the protagonist in the region and only regime change
has any chance of changing the adverse power calculus.  As soon as Iran gives up its nuclear program
and replaces it with alternative energies,  Iran will blossom once again and enter into the community
of nations as a welcome trading partner. Iran sits in a significant earthquake zone and its nuclear
facilities pose a grave threat to itself.  Iran should be building its civil engineering infrastructure in
anticipation of earthquake disturbances which could rock the region as experienced in the past.

I am willing to make painful compromises to achieve this historic peace. As the leader of Israel,
it is my responsibility to lead my people to peace...
We’ve helped the Palestinian economy by removing hundreds of barriers and roadblocks to the
free flow of goods and people. The results have been nothing short of remarkable.
The Palestinian economy is booming. It’s growing by more than 10% a year.

    Palestinian cities look very different today than they did just a few years ago. They have
shopping malls, movie theaters, restaurants, banks. They even have e-businesses. This is all happening without peace. Imagine what could happen with peace. Peace would herald a new day for both peoples. It would make the dream of a broader Arab-Israeli peace a realistic possibility...
It is time for President Abbas to stand before his people and say… “I will accept a Jewish state.”

Americans know very little about a thriving Palestinian economy. Many Americans hear only
of the poverty of the Palestinians- particularly the misery on the Gaza Strip. There is a functioning
economic model for Palestinian autonomy and this model should be strengthened and applied
throughout the territories. In addition, the Israel Kibbutz organizational apparatus can keep people
living and working locally so that they do not have to travel through checkpoints.  An American
military base can act as a further buffer to guarantee the peace and make deliveries through
checkpoint areas. The concept of victory gardens and growing food locally can provide ample foodstuffs.
Solar energy is another possibility for establishing energy independence.

 Grama and White studied how milk was made in India. Then, they proceeded to blend Grama's knowledge of Thermodynamics with advances in photovoltaics. The pair looks forward to
manufacturing solar powered refrigerators run by simple microprocessors. The solar cooler could preserve cow's milk, yogurt and medicines in villages throughout the world lacking electricity.

It is time for President Abbas to stand before his people and say… “I will accept a Jewish state.
Those six words will change history. They will make clear to the Palestinians that this conflict must come to an end...
 In any peace agreement that ends the conflict, some settlements will end up beyond Israel’s borders.
The precise delineation of those borders must be negotiated. We will be very generous on the
size of a future Palestinian state. But as President Obama said, the border will be different
from the one that existed on June 4, 1967. Israel will not return to the indefensible lines of 1967.
We recognize that a Palestinian state must be big enough to be viable,
independent and prosperous...   As for Jerusalem, only a democratic Israel has protected freedom of worship for all faiths in the city. Jerusalem must never again be divided. Jerusalem must remain the united capital of Israel

The ball is in the Palestinian court right now. Recognizing Israel's right to exist would be a
simple neighborly gesture which could change the history of the area forever.  Israel itself
will be generous in agreeing to a sizable Palestinian future state but this will not include a
return to the pre-1967 borders because these boundaries are indefensible. Israel can
build outward into the Mediterranean Sea utilizing underwater cities
and building man made islands/ infrastructure on top of the water along the 110 mile border
with the Mediterranean Sea. Jerusalem is non-negotiable; however, there are Arab quarters
already in Jerusalem with Arabs living adjacent to both Christians and Jews.   1)

This is the peace I plan to forge with a Palestinian partner committed to peace.
But you know very well, that in the Middle East, the only peace that will hold is a peace you can defend...
In recent years, Israel withdrew from South Lebanon and Gaza.
But we didn’t get peace. Instead, we got 12,000 thousand rockets fired from those areas on our cities, on our children, by Hezbollah and Hamas. The UN peacekeepers in Lebanon failed to
prevent the smuggling of this weaponry. The European observers in Gaza
evaporated overnight...

So if Israel simply walked out of the territories, the flow of weapons into a future
Palestinian state would be unchecked. Missiles fired from it could reach virtually
every home in Israel in less than a minute. I want you to think about that too.
Imagine that right now we all had less than 60 seconds to find shelter from an
incoming rocket. Would you live that way? Would anyone live that way?
Well, we aren’t going to live that way either.     The truth is that Israel needs unique
security arrangements because of its unique size...

Peace can be achieved only around the negotiating table. The Palestinian attempt to impose
a settlement through the United Nations will not bring peace. It should be forcefully opposed
by all those who want to see this conflict end...

Israel is aware quite painfully of all of the non-compliance issues with terrorists of every kind
in the region. The maxim "Trust but Verify" is the order of the day. Otherwise, Israel will have
armed conflict right in its midst. An American military base might help to deflect some of
the conflict along with United Nations troops and other defensive mechanisms.
A monorail system could transport thousands of people over the ground making the
streets safer to traverse.

So I say to President Abbas: Tear up your pact with Hamas! Sit down and negotiate!
Make peace with the Jewish state! And if you do, I promise you this.
Israel will not be the last country to welcome a Palestinian state as a new member
of the United Nations. It will be the first to do so...

President Abbas should make peace with Israel directly as a sign of goodwill aimed
at changing history forever. Take a look at biblical prophecy.
Ezekiel revealed that the Moslem militia will not form the caliphate or global dominance.
Jesus will intercede and disband/ destroy the al Qaeda forces (Ezekiel 38:18-39:6).
Bible prophecy will be triumphant and perhaps the 1000 year peace will follow .

I,  Dr. Joseph S. Maresca concur.

1)]]> Mon, 6 Jun 2011 03:02:14 +0000
<![CDATA[ donald trump in over his head]]>   Mr. Donald Trump, your actions have been very well noticed. With the exception of your personal followers, I, along with the rest of the world believe that the harassment that was launched against the most powerful citizen in the United States of America was an unnecessary distraction that could have destroyed our country. This harassment was further insulated with a statement of yours that entertained the thought that you could run this great union of states better than the current leader.
Mr. Trump, your reality and entertainment success is undoubtedly monumental; however I questioned your competence in determining what would be in the best interest of our people outside of those areas and was tremendous relieved to hear that your fiery chariot of an ideal was diverted. If I was shallowly optimistic I would recommend you being an adviser to a president or even being A President of a smaller country with real-estate development issues. If I was using common knowledge I would suggest maybe one of your advisers or one of your senior executives to do the task you were going to attempt. Given a man of your statue I believe it’s safe to say that your direct involvement with inter functions are minimal and true creativity, strategies and design comes from staff that’s rarely recognized. My final thoughts on your quest for presidency is, please do not use this country and our current U.S. Leader for your destructive amusement.
I’ve put a bit of time aside to do some research on your personal greatness and achievements to be wonderfully ecstatic to have found a mountain of time remaining to do my own personal assessment which draws me to the conclusion that I’m as qualified as you - to run for presidency of the United States if your credentials are the qualifying factor.
Like yourself and other very successful people such as Kanye West, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg  and I to name a few, have failed to complete college the first go around and still managed to be prosperous. Unlike you, these self-made men exercised a tool called personal creative involvement. This particular tool will enable a person to continually produce on his or her own accord. The fact that you lack this tool, gives me an undeniable victory over you if you would accept to be exposed. Thank you for your attention,
                                                                         Daniel Porter


]]> Tue, 24 May 2011 06:10:57 +0000
<![CDATA[Arnold Schwarzenegger Fathered Illegitimate Child Quick Tip by Count_Orlok_22]]> Thu, 19 May 2011 18:06:44 +0000 <![CDATA[ Who will run for President?]]>
I'm pretty sure that as a nation of 300 million people there must be some Republican candidates out there who could trump, well, Trump. But unfortunately the entire party has given up on the idea of finding someone smart and inspiring and instead focused on working towards the middle of the Venn diagram of "Evil", "Rich" and "Crazy".

Check out my cut-out-and-keep guide the the Republican candidates most likely to run in 2012:

*I'd like to offer Michael Bloomberg since I think he's a closet Republican.

If you think about it, Dr Evil would be an ideal candidate. While the nation struggles with unemployment, debt and multiple wars, it would be easy to campaign on a platform of shutting down NPR, banning Planned Parenthood and extending gun rights to children. There could be some spectacular side debates on gays owning guns, too.

Please wake me up when the Republican Party starts representing conservatives again rather than batshit crazy fringes stirred up by Glenn Beck. Otherwise I'll see you in 2016.]]> Fri, 13 May 2011 19:50:11 +0000
<![CDATA[ Is it the end of it all?]]>

Bin Laden's death does not quite spell the end of terrorism. It does spell justice for many who lost their family members on Sep. 11 and also those who went on to fight the war of terrorism. It is a closure for many people. An emotional closure very much needed for those who suffer from the horror of losing loved one's in a madness that many of us who didn't personally suffer can associate and imagine. No matter how much we try to empathize, the loss of loved ones create a vacuum and emptiness in the survival's lives.

Many Americans celebrate Osama bin Laden's death. It is a war won against terrorism as far as the western world is concerned. It is a victory and a justification for the resources spent on a 10-year war. It is also one which hopefully will bring the many soldiers stationed in the Middle East home. That is more meaningful for those families who have their sons', husbands' and fathers' lives at stake. I didn't keep a count and I wonder how many lives have been lost in the process?! This war has almost crippled the US treasury among other things. Budget that could have been spent on other ways to help one's citizens and saves lives have instead been spent on a war that is crucial for a democratic, open and safe world.

Now, is the world going to be more open and safe with Osama's death? We do not have answer to that. As it is, the governments are emphasizing about safety and staying vigilant for retaliations from other factions and supporters of Osama and of terrorism. Is it going to escalate further? Are others going to try to emulate Osama and may be even with the intention of making themselves an icon of a war that they believe in fighting against the West? 

So many questions, so little answers. I haven't traveled much in the last two years to the U.S. or European cities so I didn't have to put up with the awful airport security devices imposed on all air travelers. What I do know from what I heard from friends is that in order to maintain the freedom we all love, we have lost personal freedom of movement in the process. And if one thinks about it, this will not be the end of it all. It is not likely to end terrorism. Without Osama, there would be someone else to take up the seat. The seed of hatred and revenge had been planted long before Osama bin Laden. How the plant will grow depends on environmental conditions and its survival instinct. So, until the western world is able to uproot that ugly seed, things are not likely to stop. For awhile, the enemy will stay low but they will rearrange themselves and will emerge again. For all our sake, we'd better pray they do not form into a cyclone and thunderstorm which will cause even more nightmares and destructions for the rest of the world!!! New leaders (of whatever kind) have the tendency to try to prove themselves to the world and their supporters. They have an energy that existing leaders might have depleted during their reigns. That is clearly not something we all will look forward to (esp. where it will threaten our basic right of movement and survival)!!!

In the mean time, stay tune to the war In Libya! It is another tornado in the making, if not already!]]> Wed, 4 May 2011 04:02:11 +0000
<![CDATA[Death of Osama bin Laden Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> Death is not something I'd wish upon anyone, be it in return for retaliation or justice. However, it is hard to feel pity for a man's death when he has killed thousands of innocent beings and made even more orphans. Hopefully, his death will spell the end of the terror the world has been made to face for the last decade or so. It may be too much to hope for but we cannot condone his past actions and extremism. All we can hope for is that with his death, the horror ends!]]> Tue, 3 May 2011 02:18:06 +0000 <![CDATA[Osama bin Laden Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>
However, retaliations from terrorists are now expected so governments have to be vigilant. 

In the mean time, you can read about how he was killed almost on every news site as well as the TV channels.

]]> Mon, 2 May 2011 15:19:45 +0000